Monitoring interactions between red-cockaded woodpeckers and southern flying squirrels
Although several studies have suggested that southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) may have a signif- icant negative impact on red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) (Loeb and Hooper 1997, Laves and Loeb 1999), the nature of the interactions between the species remains unclear. Particularly lacking are data that address if southern flying squirrels directly usurp red-cockaded woodpeckers from cavities, or simply occupy cavities previously abandoned by red-cockaded woodpeckers. Ridley et al. (1997) observed the displacement of a red-cockaded woodpecker by a southern flying squirrel that was released after being captured. Observations of nocturnal displacements of red-cockaded woodpeckers by flying squirrels, however, are lacking. Due to the difficulty of observing interspecific interactions, determining the mechanisms by which flying squirrels impact red-cockaded wood- peckers is problematic.